Cinnamon

Although the smell of Madeleines conjured up volumes of memories for the French author, Proust, it’s the smell of cinnamon that brings back good memories for me. Mmmmmm… who else out there ate cinnamon toast for breakfast when you were a kid? And what about homemade cinnamon rolls? We sprinkled cinnamon on oatmeal, rolled snickerdoodles in it and sprinkled it on pie crust scraps. I think cinnamon was the chocolate of my day. However, we had no idea back then that it was good for us, too!

Current research shows that cinnamon lowers blood sugar levels, which is a good thing considering all of the sugar we ate with it as kids! But seriously, cinnamon supplements appear to be beneficial, especially for diabetics. In a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine on September 9th, 2013, researchers found that cinnamon pills had a positive effect on blood glucose and cholesterol levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. There are numerous studies on this topic, and you can find them easily with a quick search on the internet.

Traditionally, cinnamon was used for relieving vomiting and flatulence, and when combined with certain other herbs, useful for diarrhea. It was also applied as an antiseptic to treat wounds. Cinnamon is considered a warming herb that increases circulation and helps draw out inflammation.

Cinnamon is an ingredient in the Chinese Medicinal Tea called Kuei Chih Tang, prescribed for those who suffer from chills, weak digestion, and low blood pressure. It is also useful in the early stages of colds and flu, especially when accompanied by a stomachache and chills.

Finally, cinnamon is not just for desserts, but is also one of the five spices found in Chinese 5-Spice Blend, which we use in Chinese 5-spice Soup. If you’re feeling chilled to the bone, add a little cinnamon or 5-spice to your culinary creations to warm up!

Copyright © by Bobbi Mullins, originally published January 1, 2014.

References:

Tierra, M. (1998). The Way of Herbs. New York: Pocket Books
Grieve, M. (1971). A Modern Herbal. New York: Dover Publications
Nierenberg, C. (September 9, 2013) Spicy Solution? Cinnamon May Help Diabetes Patients.  http://www.livescience.com/39513-cinnamon-diabetes-blood-sugar.html

Featured image of cinnamon by stevepb @pixabay.com

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